By Eddie Harhai, Aston Carter Director of Market Operations
Given the spectrum of factors influencing worker behavior and diminished labor force participation, it’s clear that employers who want to compete for talent should seek to understand and strive to provide what candidates are looking for.
People know there’s a huge demand for jobs, so they’re being very selective when considering their options. Companies that are winning in hiring top candidates are those that are flexible and willing to adapt as they learn more about evolving job seeker trends in today’s market, which include:
Gaining a deeper understanding of the factors that may sway a job seeker from choosing one job opportunity over another will put employers in a better position to attract talent. Armed with the right knowledge, employers can re-evaluate and adjust their current offerings to make themselves more appealing and competitive against companies that have already pivoted to address emerging job seeker expectations.
Although general trends in what workers want can be identified, they often vary based on skill level, industry and job type. As an example, when considering communication, team building and collaboration preferences, entry-level call center employees typically want to work from home, whereas higher-level accounting and finance professionals often prefer to be in an office environment.
Companies should therefore discover what their own employees and candidates value in job opportunities and strive to meet them at least half way. Additionally, companies should develop and implement effective recruiting plans, which comprise individualized, specialized and digitalized strategies.
Job seekers understand that the market is driving premium value for reliable workers, so organizations must be agile to compete. Many innovative employers are even moving toward individualized recruiting tactics to appeal to the widest range of job seekers who have varying needs. An individualized recruiting plan involves assessing job seeker and employee needs on a more personal, case-by-case basis. For example, while some people enjoy interacting with coworkers in the office, others dread the daily commute and are more productive working from home.
So instead of turning away a qualified candidate because they’re seeking more flexibility than what a company typically offers, an individualized recruiting plan allows room to work with them to meet their needs. If a potential employer is willing to be flexible and compromise, job seekers are more likely to recognize them as an employer of choice and become a committed member of their team.
Individualized recruiting also allows companies to broaden their hiring radiuses. While in-office work requirements limit sourcing strategies to an immediate locale, flexible work options allow recruiters to expand their efforts by tapping into a variety of markets where cost of living may be markedly lower, which typically impacts candidate pay rate expectations.
However, if you’re used to operating out of a single location, it can be intimidating to consider managing employees who work out of multiple states, but depending on your business and hiring goals, it could be well worth the investment. You’ll be able to attract and leverage the skills of high-performing employees from across the entire country.
An individualized approach to recruiting shouldn’t end with job benefits and workplace flexibility — a company’s hiring strategy and the recruiters themselves should also be specialized.
It’s become clear that simply publishing job posts is no longer effective. Instead, recruiting teams should develop a plan that takes into account market nuances of the areas they’re targeting. Keeping a pulse on the competitive landscape, including key metrics such as unemployment rates, skill set demand and average pay rates will give knowledgeable employers an edge on the competition.
A good way for companies to integrate labor market expertise into their hiring strategies is to partner with recruiters who are skill set- and industry-specialized. Specialized recruiters have:
The third component of an effective recruiting plan involves a diversified yet strategic approach to sourcing candidates. While traditional methods like job boards, referrals and hiring events are useful, it’s become imperative to leverage digital mediums such as online marketing, dedicated landing pages for hiring, video interviewing, digital assessments and social media to attract candidates. We’ve seen a digital transformation in recruiting since the onset of the pandemic, and the organizations that are embracing this shift are seeing the most success in attracting talent.
In less competitive markets, job seekers are willing to go out of their way to find employers, but today successful recruiters need to show up where the job seekers are — and the overwhelming majority (especially among Millennials and Gen Zers) use social channels and mobile devices to search for jobs.
Most employers are using some means of digital sourcing efforts, but many aren’t doing so effectively. An online presence doesn’t immediately result in attracting more job seekers, so it’s important for companies to take a specialized approach here as well. In addition to facilitating the online application process, organizations should aim to source candidates with precision by determining which websites target job seekers frequently and proactively focus efforts there.
Digital sourcing also makes it easier for recruiters to complete initial candidate assessments through their social profiles and resumes, viewing information such as career history, job tenures and areas of interest. It’s good for organizations to keep in mind that it’s just as easy for job seekers to assess their company’s website and social networks. Organizations should therefore make sure their brands are well represented across their various platforms, and consider using digital channels as ways to continually build trust and recognition, not only among customers but also job seekers.
Some companies are hesitant to invest in a digital strategy because it takes time and often doesn’t result in immediate revenue gain. But ROI shouldn’t always be measured in terms of profit margin. Rather, organizations should think of trust building, awareness driving and customer / job seeker engagement as goals to reach for.
Companies should aim to build a followership of potentially high-value candidates by sharing social posts and thought leadership that offers an impression of the company’s vision, mission and values. By telegraphing a positive sense of their company culture, an organization’s efforts could pay off in helping establish wider candidate networks.
This article was taken from an excerpt of Aston Carter’s latest white paper, The Labor Market Paradox of 2021 and What Employers Can Do About It.